Lenny Dykstra thinks he was the NL MVP in 1993, not Barry Bonds

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Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra joined Mike Missanelli on ESPN’s 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday evening. The interview was fascinating, as Dykstra has never been one to hold back. He criticized current Phillies center fielder Ben Revere for his low on-base percentage, talked about his steroid use, the financial mistakes he made in his post-baseball career, and suggested that the Phillies should trade for his son Cutter Dykstra, currently in the Nationals’ minor league system.

This is perhaps the most interesting thing he said in the interview, however — at least to me:

1993 was, of course, the year the Phillies shocked the nation and matched up in the World Series against the Blue Jays. Dykstra finished second in NL MVP voting to Barry Bonds. That season, Dykstra slashed .305/.420/.482 with 19 home runs, 66 RBI, and 37 stolen bases. He led the league in walks with 129, in hits with 194, and in runs with 143. Baseball Reference credits him with an impressive 6.5 Wins Above Replacement.

As good as Dykstra was that season, however, Bonds was way better. The Giants outfielder slashed .336/.458/.677  with a league-leading 46 home runs, 123 RBI, and stole 29 bases as well. Bonds led the league in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and finished with 9.9 WAR. Bonds was the most valuable position player in the National League in 1993. The Giants won 103 games but finished second in the NL West to the Braves, who won 104.

Even aside from Bonds, though, there was a debate between Dykstra and the rest of the field. Baseball Reference also listed Mike Piazza at 7.0 WAR, Ron Gant with 6.5, Robbie Thompson with 6.3, and Jay Bell with 6.2. All worth at least a conversation in the MVP talks, though they all paled in comparison to Bonds.

Sorry, Lenny, you weren’t the National League’s most valuable player in 1993.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.